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Drug price hikes lead to patients rationing meds, government promises to get costs lowered

Posted at 2:41 PM, Jun 04, 2019

Gail Devore has been on insulin for Type I Diabetes for 47 years. But in the past year, she started rationing one of her insulin prescriptions because it became too expensive.

“We are dying, we are suffering complications when we have to ration or when we can't afford to fill our prescriptions and take it for the amount that prescribed to us,” Devore said. “It's unacceptable.

Doctors warn against rationing meds because it can lead to health problems — and even death.

“My doctor has said I will continue to stay healthy as long as I can afford to take care of myself at the level I have been all these years,” Devore said. “But with prices this high it's likely I can't. No one should have to make these kinds of decisions.”

A new JAMA study found 40 of 49 top name-brand prescription drugs have had skyrocketing prices in the last six years. On average, the cost of the drugs jumped 76 percent.

Most of the drugs continue to increase in price once and even twice per year.

The JAMA report noted that even competition does not keep prices from rising. Popular diabetes drugs saw large price increases despite doctors being able to prescribe them interchangeably.

“There has to be change. Otherwise more people will die needlessly,” Devore said.

Both Congress and the Trump White House have promised to find ways to lower costs of drugs, and several bills are in the works. It’s unclear what impact those bills will have since they are still being negotiated by a divided Congress.